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January 18, 2019

Time to remind judges of their code of conduct

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January 18, 2019

ISLAMABAD: As the country gets its new chief justice, it’s high time to remind the judiciary of its code of conduct that expects from a judge to be polite, preserve calmness, avoid extra publicity, stick to his judicial work, ignore being engaged in public controversy and a lot more.

Issued in 2009, the Code of Conduct bounds the judges to avoid extra-Judicial duties or responsibilities, official or private. The Code underlines, “A Judge should be God-fearing, law-abiding, abstemious, truthful of tongue, wise in opinion, cautious and forbearing, blameless, and untouched by greed. While dispensing justice, he should be strong without being rough, polite without being weak, awe inspires in his warnings and faithful to his word, always preserving calmness, balance and complete detachment, for the formation of correct conclusions in all matters coming before him.

“In the matter of taking his seat and of rising from his seat, he shall be punctilious in point of time, mindful of the courtesies, careful to preserve the dignity of the Court, while maintaining an equal aspect towards all litigants as well as lawyers appearing before him.”

According to the judges’ code of conduct, “Functioning as he does in full view of the public, a Judge gets thereby all the publicity that is good for him. He should not seek more. In particular, he should not engage in any public controversy, least of all on a political question, notwithstanding that it involves a question of law,” the code of conducts says.

To be above reproach, and for this purpose to keep his conduct in all things, 'official and private, free from impropriety is expected of a Judge by the Judges’ code of conduct. According to the code of conduct, to ensure that justice is not only done, but is also seen to be done, a Judge must avoid all possibility of his opinion or action in any case being swayed by any consideration of personal advantage, either direct or indirect.

It adds that no Judge of the superior judiciary shall render support in any manner whatsoever, including taking or administering oath in violation of the oath, of office prescribed in the Third Schedule to the Constitution, to any authority that acquires power otherwise than through the modes envisaged by the Constitution of Pakistan.

“A Judge must decline resolutely to act in a case involving his own interest, including those of persons whom he regards and treats as near relatives or close friend. A Judge must rigidly refrain from entering into or continuing any business dealing, howsoever unimportant it may be, with any party to a case before him. Should the dealing be unavoidable, he must discontinue his connection with the case forthwith. A judge must refuse to deal with any case in which he has a connection with one party or its lawyer more than the other, or even with both parties and their lawyers,” the Code says.

It adds, “A Judge should endeavor to avoid, as far as possible, being involved, either on his own behalf or on behalf of others, in litigation or in matters which are liable to lead to litigation such as industry, trade or speculative transactions. To employ the influence of his position to gain undue advantage, whether immediate or future, is a grave fault. A Judge must avoid incurring financial or other obligations to private institutions or persons such as may embarrass him in the performance of his functions.”

“In his judicial work, and his relations with other Judges, a Judge should act always for the maintenance of harmony within his own court, as well as among all courts and for the integrity of the institution of justice. Disagreement with the opinion of any Judge, whether of equal or of inferior status, should invariably be expressed in terms of courtesy and restraint,” the Code says.

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